Many years ago...twelve to be exact...my friend Jennifer and I planned our first "Birthday Party for Jesus" for the children in the "Mom's Day Out" program where I work. My little girls who were one and three years old at the time have since grown into teenagers. They were part of the first celebration and many others thereafter. My son, born a few years later, was also a part of those birthday parties until he, too, grew up and moved on to elementary school. I remember each and every year, having my eyes fill with tears as I listened to a room full of children sing "Happy Birthday, Jesus...I'm so glad it's Christmas...all the tinsel and lights and presents are nice...but the real gift is you." I recall the furious shaking of jingle bells as they belted out "Come on ring those bells...light the Christmas tree...Jesus is the King...born for you and me!" Just like all the other parents, I stood there with a huge grin on my face, watching my little ones celebrate Jesus, sometimes singing...sometimes not...but nonetheless understanding a little more what Christmas is all about.
"We just came to celebrate the birthday of a King!"
Two years ago, I attended Steven Curtis Chapman's Christmas concert the night before our birthday party. Jon and I also attended a luncheon where he spoke about adoption and then had the privilege of meeting him. As star-struck as I was, I was overcome with thoughts of Caroline, wondering where she was, if she was even born. The next day, I remember watching the children sing that day and being filled with such emotion all that week, thinking of the daughter I did not yet know. Looking back, I can't help but think of the pain her birth mother must have been going through at that time, contemplating the decision she had before her as her early January due date approached.
How cute is she, waving her Smarties and calling out, "Hi, Mama!"
Last year, I watched our Christmas program through the eyes of a mother who knew her child and ached to hold her as she waited for her family in an orphanage far away. And today my eyes once again filled with tears as my little girl...born on the other side of the world to circumstances we may never fully understand...stood up and proclaimed her King. Granted, she's too young to really understand why she was there, but the significance was not lost to me. As I watched her, the word "redeemed" kept ringing in my head. I looked up the word redeemed...among its meanings are to recover ownership of by paying a specific sum...another is to restore honor or worth. Yes, her ransom was paid, and she will have the freedom to grow up a daughter of the King. Yes, her honor and worth were restored. She has been REDEEMED! I am thankful tonight for a deeper knowledge of the meaning of Christmas.
Mickey helps Caroline present her "gifts" to Baby Jesus, just like the Wise Men did so long ago. The "gifts" are items for our church's food pantry.Well, it was her first program, after all! Daddy was there,
and so was Grandma Dotty.
Daddy treated Mickey to lunch and brought him to see Caroline sing...the girls were NOT happy that they weren't able to come!
Oh, and our neighbor, Angie, just had to come see her China sweetie!